Between childhood and adulthood, something happens, and it’s more than getting taller and wiser. At some point the world crushes our childhood capacity to dream we could make a difference in the world. Age brings a proper understanding of reality. At the age of ten I realized that, as much as I loved baseball, I wasn’t good enough to make it in the big league – I accepted reality. But the world (a system that leaves God out, 1 Jn.2:15-16) goes further. It destroys our dream to change the world.
Everyone has a God given desire to make a difference. It can look as insignificant as giving a friend advice or as momentous as saving a life. We all want to be heroes. We want our lives to count for something important. But the world doesn’t like people with lofty ambitions that flow from their relationship with God. The world whispers in our ear, telling us that we need to “grow up” and put away such dreams. It exhorts us to help others, but without God. It urges us to put away the belief we can make a difference for eternity and instead focus on caring for ourselves and our families – as if the choice is either/or.
But this isn’t the only option. The world is wrong. Each of us can impact history for Christ. We can affect the world for God’s kingdom. We can realize our loftiest dreams. But there’s one condition: We must keep the dream alive. King David tells us, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalms 37:4) These desires – these dreams – are more than childhood fantasies. God planted them in our heart to produce fruit in keeping with his purpose for us. It makes sense, then, that the only way we can fulfill these deep desires is by focusing on the Lord of life.
When we do this we will face resistance. Jesus warned us of the world’s pessimism, and he declared that “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 10:18-19). There are two sides in this battle: the world’s and God’s. It all comes down to this question: whose side do you serve? If you want what Jesus offers, then you recognize you don’t belong to the world, and because of this, the world will hate you – it will hate your desires and dreams, because through these, you will be living out your potential in Christ, which is not something the world wants. You must reject the world’s pessimism and mediocrity. You must realize that Jesus offers another way – a way that is not just more fulfilling, but a way that will unleash your potential to fulfill those cherished childlike dreams of significance.
So stoke your dreams and watch God bring them into reality.